Elk Research Continues In Wind Cave National Park With The Collaring of 24 Animals

A crewmember from Leading Edge Aviation out of Clarkston, Washington, repackages one of the nets used to capture elk. (NPS Photo)

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Twenty-four elk in Wind Cave National Park were recently fitted with GPS (Global Positioning System) radio collars to help monitor elk inside the park for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

This study, led by a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist, is evaluating whether it is possible to reduce the prevalence rate of CWD in the park’s elk herd by reducing herd density. Last year the park culled 262 elk from the herd. The recently installed collars will be used to help monitor elk movements and habitat use as part of this CWD study.

“We appreciate our partnership with the USGS and how they are helping us learn more about this disease,” said Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila.  “These collars and the information they provide will allow us to study the elk that are living inside the park and learn more about their movements and habits.”

The collars record the location of the elk every seven hours, and on a rotating basis, several elk each day will have their locations recorded every 15 minutes.  This is the second year of this study.

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